Saturday, March 5, 2016

Caleb's Birth Story

So I had to go back and see how long it's been, to know where to start this time. It has been 7 months. Wow. Who knows how long it will be before I crack this thing open again, but I really wanted to make sure our second child's birth was written about.

So, we found out the second was a boy, as you may have already guessed. We were really quite shocked, even though we didn't really have a preference, turns out we thought we were having another girl more than we realized.

This time around, I was induced at 39 weeks and 2 days. I've known since Sophia's birth and the complications with it, that I would not be going past due with the second. My midwife told me that in the delivery room. I was also advised to cut "white" carbs in the last trimester of this pregnancy to avoid any unnecessary weight gain. Basically, Sophia almost didn't fit, and so this time I needed to have a smaller baby. Which is tricky because subsequent babies, and boy babies, tend to be bigger. But, I managed to only gain about 5 pounds total my third trimester, so I did good. And I didn't gain an unhealthy amount overall either (23 pounds).

At 35 weeks I had a full ultrasound to check health and guesstimate weight. At that time he was running average, putting him on track to be 8.5 pounds at 40 weeks. At my second to last appointment, when we got serious about setting a plan, I was actually offered a scheduled cesarean. Apparently this is something they're required to counsel you about, because mothers who have experienced a shoulder dystocia are at higher risk for recurrence, and the only definitive way to avoid this is to avoid a vaginal birth. I declined the offer, wanting to at least give my body and baby a chance.

By 39 weeks even, I was 2cm dilated, and around 80% effaced, but still at -2 station (head was not engaged in the pelvis aka baby hadn't "dropped"). So I went in at midnight for a Cytotec induction. I was pretty familiar with this routine from Sophia's birth. When they placed me on the monitors, I was actually already having contractions, but they weren't really painful and some I couldn't even feel. I had my medication and then we proceeded to try and sleep.

At my 6am check, there was really no change. In fact the nurse thought I was more like 60% effaced. She had said this when I checked in. No big deal, these things are an estimate and vary upon the person doing the exam. I was contracting regularly, but still not particularly painfully. So, a second dose of Cytotec was placed and again, we tried to rest.

Some time around 7am John went and got breakfast and snuck me some too. My midwife came and did my 8am check. Still no real change. I was borderline that they could even give another Cytotec because I was contracting so much. I could feel them all at this point, but they were still manageable. Like a 4-5 of 10 on the pain scale. They decided to place a third dose. My midwife remarked that I have a "stubborn body".

At my 10am check, still no change. Things were starting to get concerning. We made a plan to get up, walk the halls, sit on the yoga ball, try and get his head to descend. So I did that for 2 hours. My midwife came by on her lunch hour and checked me. STILL no change. At this point we discussed options. I asked if we could try Pitocin. I was advised that that wasn't really a great option because A) I probably couldn't get an effective dose because I was already contracting so frequently and B) My cervix still wasn't ripe/favorable. That was the intention of the Cytotec. I asked about getting an epidural just to see if my body wasn't relaxed and that was hindering things. I was told again because my dilation was so minimal, and epidurals slow things down, that I would just likely stop any progress I might make. We were basically down to A) Keep going how I was and wait another possibly umpteen hours to see if  I would progress B) Go home and see if things progressed naturally and if not return later for another induction and C) A cesarean.

Because Cytotec is given every 4 hours if needed, I had until 2pm to decide. It was frustrating to be having regular contractions that were ineffective. John and I discussed it, and with a peace in my heart, we decided to proceed with the cesarean if there wasn't any progress. We had kind of "been there done that" with an extremely long, painful, exhausting induction before. We had also gone home and returned for a second induction before. Neither of those did us any good. I continued to walk, rock, sit on the ball. My contractions ramped up just a little in intensity, and in fact I started to feel them a twinge more in my back than my front, but sitting on the ball and leaning on the bed made them bearable.

So the moment of truth arrived. My midwife's attending physician came in. The felt my belly and agreed they did not think this was an overly large baby. However, I had still not really made any progress. His head was still very high. Then the doctor/surgeon gave us the big talk. He again reiterated our options, that this was not an emergency, and we could go home. Without any hard numbers he told us "We can try and deliver you vaginally and you probably will not have another shoulder dystocia. Or we can do a cesarean and you definitely will not have a shoulder dystocia and it's highly unlikely that you will have any complications. Unfortunately we have to do hundreds of cesareans to avoid one devastating shoulder dystocia." My midwife also advised me that since I am not a first time mom, my body should have responded to the medication, but it did not. I actually had a better response to it the first time around than I did the second. By now, my body should be able to more easily produce the hormones needed for delivery, but it was not.

At this point, I got a little shaky in our earlier decision. I didn't want to go home, but I didn't want a cesarean. I also didn't want to labor forever only to again have complications at delivery. Now the surgery was staring me in the face, and my providers wouldn't help to sway me with a personal opinion. The decision was solely in my hands and I would be responsible for the repercussions.

After talking with John again, and having a cry of fear about surgery and the loss of my hoped for vaginal birth, we decided for the surgery. The anesthesiologist came in and because I could only say for certain that the last time I had water and ice chips was 2pm, my surgery couldn't be done until 4pm. And I had to take an AWFUL medication called Bicitra. It's a liquid and it tastes absolutely horrible, and you can't have any chasers. Thankfully I didn't vomit right then and there.

Then my nurse began prepping me. IV fluids, antibiotics, a shave (that was a surprise to me!), a hospital gown, and sequential compression devices (leg squeezers to prevent blood clots). I was asked to get in bed for all of this, and about 3pm when they were all done, we were left alone. It was weird in comparison to all the checks I was getting before. Well, the bed was the most uncomfortable place during contractions, which were still coming very frequently. I tried to be compliant, but about 20-30 minutes in, I got back on the ball. The pain was starting to really localize to my back again, and leaning forward really helped that. My midwife came in just before the surgery, and by then I was breathing through contractions. Things were intensifying. I told her these were beginning to feel like the horrific contractions I had with Sophia.

She offered to check me one last time. Just to be sure I wasn't rapidly changing. Nope. She said his head was in "North Dakota". So off I went for my surgery.

I walked into the operating room and got up on the narrow table. I had a sweet woman for an anesthesiologist who was like a mother figure. That turned out to be such a blessing. They put in my spinal. I felt some shooting pains into my butt and down my back a few times, but it wasn't too bad. Then the numbness set in. I wasn't prepared for just how numb you are. My only experience was with my laboring epidural for Sophia. Of course for surgery they want you completely numb, and I appreciate that; it just took me by surprise. It's a very surreal experience.

Then they laid me down and things got intense. They started scrubbing my belly, putting in my foley catheter, getting me hooked up to all the monitors for anesthesia, propping me tilted just slightly to one side. There were a lot of things being done to my body at once and I had no control over any of it. I started to freak out. I started talking about how I was feeling- because talking was the only thing I really could do of my own free will. I told them I felt really weird. My midwife asked if I was nauseous? I wasn't sure. Then a minute later I was sure. They gave me meds for that. Then I felt like I couldn't breathe. My sweet anesthesiologist was stroking my forehead, and explained to me that the spinal makes my rib muscles numb, so that my brain is not aware they exist and are rising and falling as my lungs work normally. I was concerned because I even felt tingling all the way to the underside of my arms, down to my fingers. She again assured me this was normal. She told me what I knew- they were monitoring all my vital signs and they are normal.

At this point I felt so bizarre and "out of body" that I asked if they could just put me out. My midwife said "You want to be awake to see your baby." I told her I did not. I told her I thought this was supposed to be the "easy way out" to have a baby. I said a lot of things. It was quite an experience.

Then, the surgeon and John came in. I immediately grabbed his hand. I was in desperate need of some normalcy and comfort. Then the surgery got underway. John watched a little. He said he couldn't watch it all because it's different when the person they are cutting on is your wife. My midwife warned me just as they were about to deliver him that I was going to feel like she was standing on my chest and I couldn't breathe, but it would be ok. Thankfully I did NOT have that sensation.

And then- they pulled him out. Crying and flailing. The surgeon brought him around really quick. I cried a little. It was odd to hear him come out crying, because Sophia was silent due to her circumstances. I knew in my head he was born, but I was so overwhelmed with all the feelings going on from the surgery that I couldn't really focus on him too much. John went over to the warmer, re-cut his cord, took some photos, watched him get weighed and checked out, etc. My surgeon and midwife proceeded to do all the uterine checking and cleaning. I heard my midwife ask the anesthesiologist if I had Pitocin infusing. I did. They continued their work and she asked again about Pitocin and the anesthesiologist said it was running "wide open". "She's boggy" my midwife said. Being that I'm an RN and have worked in women's health, I got concerned. I just said "Jesus". My midwife heard me and said "It's ok". Then the anesthesiologist gave me an injection in my arm. I knew it was Methergine. Things were fine after that and when they were doing all the sponge/needle/instrument counts and calling out all the facts of that case they said my estimated blood loss was 600ml. That was within normal limits.

John came back and they brought the baby to see me. I kissed him but didn't feel prepared to hold him. I was still very inwardly focused. All the staff were talking about how cute he was. I was proclaiming to my midwife that no one should dare ask me about a third child. She said "But they're so cute when you have them".

John went off to the nursery with him, and the staff got me transferred back into a bed. Oh my, it feels so unsafe and like they are going to just roll you right off the table onto the floor. I knew in my head that was not the case, but it's still how it felt. They wheeled me just across the hall into recovery. I started having the post-op shakes. Oh man that was the pits. I had them for two whole hours. On top of that I was feeling super drowsy from the Duramorph spinal, plus they also gave me Benadryl IV in surgery for my second bout of nausea. The Duramorph also made me mildly itchy. But I asked them not to give me any Benadryl for that because I was already so zonked.

During some of my post-op checks the nurse had to massage out some clots. Let me tell you how fun it is to get a deep tissue abdominal massage right above a 7 inch fresh surgical incision. It is NOT. She was very empathetic about it and I knew it was necessary, and I managed to resist the urge to swat her hands away.

Things got better as time passed. The nurses brought the baby and tried to help me breastfeed him, but he was sleepy and so was I. I think I held him. That period is a little foggy for me from all the drugs.

About 6pm John went and got Sophia. Oh my it was so sweet her meeting "her baby brother". John helped her hold him and he was sleeping. She said "I thank the Lord he maked my baby to sleep". She ooohed and ahhed and fussed over him. She almost had a complete meltdown when John told her she had to leave me and Caleb at the hospital. That part was bittersweet.

So, that is my recollection of how Caleb came into this world. For the second time the birth did not go as I hoped or planned, and for the second time I brought home a healthy baby anyway. This birth thing is tough!


Caleb E. White. February 5, 2016. 4:35pm 7 pounds 14 ounces, 19.75 inches


Sophia and Caleb meet for the first time

Proudest big sister


Monday, August 17, 2015

Playing catch up: Edition 1

It has been nearly 4 months since I blogged. No one has been pestering me for material. Lol. But I just can't bring myself to give up altogether. I'd really like to have a lifelong documentation of my story, mostly as entertainment for my kids. So maybe 3 posts a year over the course of a lifetime will suffice.

I'm nearly 15 weeks pregnant. Three weeks until we found out this baby's gender. Sophia seems very excited about having a sibling. The gender she wants changes every time you ask. For awhile she insisted that she wanted a brother AND a sister :) Unless we get a big surprise in 3 weeks she's going to be disappointed on one account at least. I think last time we were down to just a sister.

John and I don't really have a preference. We've certainly enjoyed having a little girl and we'd love another. But we'd also enjoy having a little boy. Someone to be Papa's helper when he grows up (selfishly for me, someone to take out the trash? lol).

I've been living in the land of pregnancy symptoms for about 2 months. It is the worst part of pregnancy by far. I'm mostly over the very worst of it, but very ready to be done completely. I declared today that if I'm to ever do this again, I will need to quit work so I can loathe in my misery at home. Along with the nausea, weird food aversions (basically anything and anything healthy, I've gained 8 pounds), and exhaustion; this time I've added headaches, right hip pain and a decent amount of tenderness in the mammaries, lol. Oh, and I have to pee an INSANE amount. More than I recall with Sophia. If I try to put off going it makes me nauseous. So weird. I really do not like feeling like an invalid. Not.one.bit. in fact as I write this I'm a bit nauseous and I've had a headache that's gotten worse since about 3pm on. I'm propped up in bed with my pregnancy pillow and rotating a heated rice bag between my head and my hip. And I had an hour and half nap after work. Thank goodness tonight John was able to take Sophia duty.

But enough complaining. I know first hand and second-hand that I'm fortunate to be pregnant. I thank God that the baby is healthy. At the same time I pray to God for relief from these symptoms! The poor unfortunate women in my family and even just acquaintances who were sick their entire pregnancies- and did it more than once- I don't know how!

John's first day of full time radiography school was today. Five semesters seems like a long time still, but I'm sure it will go by quick enough. I only hope he can survive balancing work, school and a family through it. I pray it comes easier than he thinks.

Sophia continues to be the joy in our home. She provides us endless entertainment. We love her to pieces. She is 2 years and 8 months now. Her latest favorite thing of mine is that she has started singing. Mostly she does it when she thinks no one is paying attention. It's not unusual to hear her signing in her room as she falls asleep, and also in the morning when she wakes up. She will rock her baby dolls and sing to them. She will sing along to music in the car. Her little voice is just adorable. I have some incredible videos I want to keep forever. She is still very affectionate. Her "I Love You's" are heard many times a day. She will often pipe up with it out of nowhere and is also happy to say it just if you ask.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm expecting too much of her. Her vocabulary is so advanced I question if because she communicates so well that she's also emotionally advanced. Maybe I expect her to understand and remember things that are a bit above her maturity level. Hopefully I'm doing ok with that :)

I do know that there are certainly things that show emotionally she's more on level. We still rock and read books and sing and have a sippy of milk nightly. She still constantly wants to be held. She seeks me out for comfort.

And for the love of Pete we are still 100% NOT potty trained. She'd definitely had some real anxiety in this area that is unfortunately not unfounded. We seem to have a program down to make sure everything is normal and routine as far as that goes, but she's still traumatized I think. Either that or she's dug in her heels in this area. Either way we've tried all kinds of bribery and she is not.having.it. And we can't push it because she's already afraid. Hopefully things will turn around before baby #2 arrives. I'd really love to only have one kid in diapers. But if not, it isn't the end of the world. It just gets tricky when you're fully communicative verbally advanced child is still in diapers. There's definitely some social pressure there.

On a positive- we are in a big girl bed! We switched her to a twin bed about 4-6 weeks ago. It went great. She loves to jump on her bed. She does get up a bit earlier now that she can get herself out. We have to put her back to bed some. That's to be expected. But overall I think it has gone well. She doesn't even have a bed rail. So far she has stayed put and not fallen out.

Well, this preggo girl is getting tired (again!) so I think I'll wrap it up.

See y'all again in about 4 months? Who knows ;)

Friday, April 24, 2015

(Road)Trippin'...Trip Trip Trip Trippin'

So I've been on two big trips recently! In March John and I went to Peru to visit friends, and it was also our fifth anniversary when we were there.

John put out a "ridiculous" wish on Facebook for a trip to see his missionary friends there, and his dad and grandma granted his wish! It was so super generous of them!
It was a long 17 hours of traveling to get there, but it was nice to be together.

The tourist trap market

Vince keeps a few "pets" including 3 small alligators!

The guys going off to work on the jungle property building a home for Vince and Megan

And the girls going off to the local resort pool :)

Dinner out then walking around one of the many plazas in the city

Cindy and John- people doing great work for the Lord

A Catholic cathedral in the plaza. The lights change colors.

At the zoo. One ugly monkey.

A pretty Mink

The trick porpoise

A day at the zoo/park

Church on the Mortimer's property

The whole family except Melissa got cutoff!

Motorbikes and Motorcars are 99% of the transportation

A Sunday afternoon river ride

Tributary of the Amazon

The Iquitos Hunting and Fishing Club

Holding a sloth at the Serpentarium on the river

John with the sloth

A Macaw!

A Night Monkey. So so sweet and cuddly!

John harassing the night monkey

Baby alligator

World's ugliest turtle- the Leaf Turtle

Mostly one way streets to keep the traffic safer since there aren't really any traffic "laws"


A squatter's village
We had an awesome time. We did a lot of cool things, but for me my favorite part was probably spending a lot of time talking to the missionaries and hearing all their touching amazing miraculous stories over 40 years of mission work both in Mexico and Peru. Man have they trusted God! They have done some really scary things and been extremely flexible. God has provided for them and done such wonderful works!

Then about six weeks later Sophia and I drove to Maryland to visit my mom and do some sightseeing around the greater DC area. It took two days of driving. That part was kinda tough. Thankfully we flew home. But I got to see a lot of really cool metro areas and really beautiful natural scenery...and a lot of historic architecture. I hope to return someday without kids so we can really delve in deeply to the ton of things the area has to offer.

Driving Day 1

Hotel Night 1

Driving Day 2. Thank God for the DVD player and Curious George

Then we got there and Mimi drove us instead!

With Mimi at last!!!!
We are chocolate

And took strolls

Crossed over the Potomac lots of times

Figured out the Metro

Got served chilled coffee

Played on sculptural merry-go-rounds in the "Innah Hahbah"

Even mom

Perused the National Aquarium

They have a HUGE sea turtle

Little eyes and hands in wonder at the anemones

So happy to take a picture. Ha!

Found some play mates

But mom's the best one
Had a lovely time at the local park

With Mimi


Gave mom an arm workout

Watched a seal show at the National Zoo

Looked at elephants while eating popcorn

Saw birds

Sat on the brass panda

With Mimi too

Got a cool hat

Loved the zoo carousel for 2 or 3 trips

Picked the giraffe even though it was stationary

Switched to the moving horse for round 2
Had the most delicious cupcakes. Not just hype!

Because I just had to take a pic

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Tidal Basin. All the cherry blossoms had dropped :(

First Mate Sophie

Sad excuse for a selfie

Saw the monument from almost everywhere we went

Dept of Agriculture

Grave of JFK, Jacque O and 2 children

Lee House overlooking Arlington National Cemetary

Maybe my grandma's relative?


Of course the White House. Which looks small in comparison to the other grand architecture around.

Sniffing flowers

Hanging on the barricades at the White House